Ancient Hunting Grounds Discovered Beneath The Waters Of Lake Huron
Researchers have discovered a caribou-hunting site, built by native people 9,000 years ago, beneath the waters of Lake Huron.
Stones laid in V-shaped formations and simple lanes mark the most extensive hunting architecture yet found beneath any of the Great Lakes, writes Tech Times.
A pair of parallel lanes, each 98 feet long and 26 feet wide, led to a dead end.
These may have been used to trap caribou, while the V-shaped formations may have acted like hunting blinds, researchers said.
The massive structure measures 330 feet by 92 feet.
University of Michigan researchers discovered the ruins using a remotely operated vehicle (ROI) and sonar, writes Tech Times.
The landscape was much different 9,000 years ago. The area, which is now covered in 120 feet of water, was formerly the Alpena-Amberley Ridge.
This was a temporary land bridge, allowing animals to walk from southern Ontario, down to northeast Michigan.
"This feature, on older nautical charts labeled as Six Fathom Shoal, is an outcrop of limestone and dolomite which, during the period 9800 to 7000 years ago, formed a dry land corridor which divided the modern Lake Huron basin into two distinct lakes," John O' Shea of the University of Michigan wrote on his university webpage.
Computer simulations of ancient migration routes suggest that the animals would have converged at two "bottlenecks", twice a year, during their migration. One of these locations was in the area where the site was found.
Researchers believe the land bridge provided a natural hunting ground for the caribou, which were followed by human hunters, writes Tech Times.
The best hunting season was during fall, as the caribou were fattest during this period.
The archeological team believes that the hunters used two seasonal strategies to hunt the animals - depending on the time of year.
In fall the caribou would instinctively follow the lanes into a dead. They would then be ambushed by a group of hunters.
In spring, smaller groups of hunters used the smaller V-shaped blinds to hunt their prey head-on, writes Tech Times.
"This concentration of differing types of hunting structures associated with alternative seasons of migration is consistent with caribou herd movement simulation data indicating that the area was a convergence point along different migration routes, where the landform tended to compress the animals in both the spring and autumn," researchers wrote in a press release announcing the discovery.
When divers were sent to examine the site, they found chipped stone flakes, which were likely used to sharpen and maintain tools - providing further evidence the area was used to hunt the large mammals.